What Headphones Need Burn-in? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 8 Old 02-07-13, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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What Headphones Need Burn-in?

Are there any particular headphone models that listeners have found need burn-in more than others, or benefit more from a burn-in period? How long a burn-in is necessary?
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-19-13, 09:35 AM
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Re: What Headphones Need Burn-in?

I've never found any need for it...but can't say that I've thought much about it.

Since the burn in for speakers normally has to do with slightly changing T/S parameters, given the (small) size of headphones, I'd be really surprised if there is any difference.

Curious what others have to say.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-22-13, 03:01 AM
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Re: What Headphones Need Burn-in?

It's often been said the K701/Q701/K702 have a very long extended burn in time of about 200-250 hours. AKG K-70x series have shown measurably to change from a break in. Scott Wilkinson explains that speakers and headphones change from a break in; because when new, the materials (surrounds?) are a bit firm and need some flexing before they can really move as they should. You only have to do this once and after that it's for life.

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Last edited by 8086; 02-22-13 at 03:13 AM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-28-13, 12:10 AM
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Re: What Headphones Need Burn-in?

8086 wrote: View Post
It's often been said the K701/Q701/K702 have a very long extended burn in time of about 200-250 hours. AKG K-70x series have shown measurably to change from a break in.
That was my experience with the AKG 702s. Great cans after a good break in.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-25-14, 12:57 PM
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Re: What Headphones Need Burn-in?

I have heard a lot of people complaining on various forums (not this one) about the lack of bass with Audio Technica headphones. After using mine for several months, the bass did improve. Now these are not bass heavy headphones, but both my AD700 and AD900x are highly detailed with just a hint of brightness. As they age, they don't seem as bright and the bass goes lower. I wouldn't call them a neutral headphone but closer. They do tend to favor higher frequencies slightly. If you just pulled them out of the box, you would say they are slightly bright and have little bass. If you give them a chance and time to break in, they will sound better over time. I think most headphones do benefit from some break-in, but oddly enough my HiFiMan planar magnetics didn't seem to change over time nor my Koss Porta pros. Or at least not that I noticed.

Last edited by wd3; 02-26-14 at 09:41 AM.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-25-14, 01:28 PM
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Re: What Headphones Need Burn-in?

I think its a myth. If they do change its miniscule, your perception of what you hear changes, i.e. you get used to them
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-26-14, 09:26 AM
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Re: What Headphones Need Burn-in?

I have seen several posts on various forums talking about letting speakers break-in before performing any room correction or running room correction after your speakers break-in. I believe headphones go through the same process. In addition, there are many manufacturers that do recommend break-in periods for your audio or visual gear. Keep in mind headphones have moving components just like speakers. After a while, they might compress the dampening material (i.e. planar magnetic types) or in the case of a dynamic headphones the material might stretch over time or perhaps will wear groves if there are any guides for any of the components. I am more than willing to concede that you do become use to the sounds you hear. Our brains are amazing things, but they can fool us too. In short, I do agree that your brain will fill in a lot of things whether that is in our auditory or visual senses. That said, there is a considerable amount of debate on the Internet about such things. If you do some searches you can find info on both sides, but I obviously fall in the camp that speakers/headphones do change over time. Although, I believe that in most cases after the initial break-in that you would be hard pressed to tell differences in most speakers or headphones unless they are really old. The only way to truly confirm this would be with scientific studies (using sensitive gear and wear simulations and/or protracted periods of time to measure wear), and most manufacturers are not going to post that data or research due to competition between them. I also agree that even in double blind scientific listening studies that you might find it difficult if not impossible to discern differences after the initial break-in. But to say speakers or headphones considering they do have moving parts do not change over time would seem to be contrary to scientific logic and basic physics.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-26-14, 10:04 AM
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Re: What Headphones Need Burn-in?

If you are looking for a specific amount of time for break-in recommendations, only manufacturers might provide some true guidance in that regards. The type of technology used in the headphone will typically have the biggest deciding factor for break-in. Unfortunately, I don't believe all manufacturers provide guidance in this regard, and as a general rule of thumb I typically use 48 hours of usage before I try to critically listen to headphones. I had one pair of Sennheisers (HD-598) that never sounded good to me. I think if you don't like what you hear off the bat, you probably aren't going to like what you hear after the break-in. I think break-in just allows things to settle just a little, but in reality you are probably not going to notice significant differences over time. In short, the overall characteristics of most headphones will change over time, but our ability to actually hear or notice those differences especially over long periods of time will be difficult or impossible without instituting strict scientific methods of measurement. The only exception would be that if you are using hard to drive headphones on a headphone amp that does not have enough power or a high output impedance (low dampening factor). In that case, if you get a better headphone amp things might drastically improve. This would be analogous to running loudspeakers rated at 4 or 2 ohms on a receiver or amp that is only rated for 8 ohms with little to no high-current capabilities to support a lower ohm loudspeaker. You probably would not like the result.

Last edited by wd3; 02-26-14 at 10:16 AM.
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